Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat business secretary, has led the Coalition's drive to deliver more than 2.2 million apprenticeships in government, twice as many as were delivered under the last Labour government. This vast expanse was in apprenticeships which are, in general, longer (at least one year) and more advanced (level 3 and above).
The Liberal Democrats propose:
- New national colleges through the vision in Vince Cable’s Green Paper for a new generation of colleges filling the gap left by the abolition of polytechnics by Labour.
- A concentration on higher apprenticeships - level four, foundation degree and above - building on the Coalition's work.
- An emphasis on apprenticeships in key areas of skill shortages: digital, construction and engineering.
- Developing the emphasis on employer ownership with more apprenticeships to small and medium sized enterprises which currently have poorer take up.
- A commitment to help employers by exempting them from national insurance when taking on apprentices and by providing hundreds of thousands of apprenticeship grants for small businesses throughout the next parliament.
Vince Cable, Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills said: "The world is changing at an accelerated rate and we need equip our young people with the skills they need for the future, to ensure they can compete in a global market place, in ever changing technologies and the digital economy. That is why the Liberal Democrats will double the number of employers providing apprenticeships over the next five years and create more apprenticeship starts per year than Germany."
"To achieve these objectives requires significant investment in skills by both government and the private sector. As we grow our economy, the Liberal Democrats believe we must enhance adult skills training and our further education colleges." Dr Cable added.